Perhaps OSHA didn’t want to be upstaged by Bruce Jenner, or maybe the government safety agency just wanted to keep up with the times.
On June 1, the Occupational Safety & Health Administration published A Guide to Restroom Access for Transgender Workers. That was the same day the news broke of the transformation of Bruce Jenner to her new identity as Caitlyn.
OSHA’s best practices guidelines recommend, but don’t require, single occupancy, gender-neutral facilities and/or multiple-occupant, gender-neutral facilities with lockable single occupant stalls.
OSHA stipulates that the guidelines do not require employees to provide medical or legal documentation of their gender identity, and the agency cites a study by the Williams Institute at the University of California-Los Angeles that estimates that 700,000 adults in the United States are transgender.
The core principle, according to David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health, is that “all employees, including transgender employees, should have access to restrooms that correspond to their gender identity."
OSHA’s reasoning is that restricting employees to restrooms that are inconsistent with their gender identity or segregating them from other workers by requiring them to use gender-neutral or other specific restrooms, “singles those employees out and may make them fear for their physical safety.”
So existing facilities can be single or shared, as long as privacy is maintained, but building a specific gender neutral facility would not be in keeping with guidelines.
So unlike other regulations, such as those that came out of the Americans with Disability Act of 1990, the new OSHA guidelines provide a limited market opportunity.
Compliance could be as simple as changing a sign on a door. But, in keeping with a spirit of inclusion and diversity, the Internet provides a range of options for those signs.